Chinese Film "The Green Hat" Top Tribeca Winner; "Arna's Children" & "Mother's Face" Share Doc Prize
by Eugene Hernandez
First-time feature director Liu Sen Dou, from China, won two top awards at the 2004 Tribeca Film Festival for his new film, "The Green Hat." The movie, described by the festival as "two different stories (that) explore how people today are struggling to transcend traditional definitions of love," won the prize for best narrative feature, while Liu Sen Dou was presented the award for best new narrative filmmaker at the festival -- he won $45,000 for the two prizes last night. The event, which ran from May 1-9 in New York City, closed with an awards ceremony and party in Lower Manhattan.
The festival's best doc feature award was shared by two films, Juliano Mer Khamis & Danniel Danniel's "Arna's Children" from Israel and Cathy Henkel's "The Man Who Stole My Mother's Face" from Australia and South Africa. Both films were acquired Sundance Channel in a deal announced Friday. "Arna's Children" is about a children's theater group in the West Bank of Jerusalem, while "The Man Who Stole My Mother's Face" explores the unsolved mystery of a rape of the director's own mother. Esther van Messel of First Hand Films negotiated for "Arna's Children" and Jan Rofekamp and Diana Holtzberg of Films Transit negotiated for "The Man Who Stole My Mother's Face."
The award for best new documentary filmmaker was presented to an ecstatic Paolo Sacramento, for his new movie, "The Prisoner of the Iron Bars - Self Portraits" (O Prisoneiro da Grade de Ferro - Retratos). The director greeted award presenter Martin Scorsese with a lengthy embrace and was quite moved by the experience. His film goes inside a Brazilian prison via cameras that the filmmaker gave to inmates.
Kelly Anderson & Tami Gold's documentary "Every Mother's Son" won the $25,000 audience award; the ITVS project will air on PBS' doc series, P.O.V., in August. It is the story of three New York City women dealing with the death of their sons, all killed by police officers.
Ian Hart won the award for best actor for John Furse's "Blind Flight" and Fernanda Montenegro won the best actress prize for her work in Marcos Bernstein's "Other Side of the Street" (O Outro Lado da Rua), which debuted earlier this year at the Berlinale.
Among other award winners, Sonia Herman Dolz's "The Master and His Pupil" won the prize in the Best Documentary > 2 category, for work by directors who have already made two features. The movie is about a renowned music conductor in Rotterdam. "It's Mother's Day," the filmmaker said, smiling and pausing to cheers, "And this film is my baby..."
Scott Cray's "Kill Your Idols," about New York's punk music scene, won the doc feature award in the NY, NY section, while Jennifer Todd Reeves' "The Time We Killed" won the prize for best narrative feature in the section. "I make experimental films," she smiled as she accepted her award, adding that while she has been told in the past that her work is not commercial, she is hoping that awareness from this award will help her find an outlet for her new film. She also won a FIPRESCI award at this year's Berlinale.
Larry Golin's "Cross Bronx" won the festival's new high-definition technology prize.
In the short film categories, Oren Jacoby's "Sister Rose's Passion" won the doc award, while Seth Grossman's "Shock Act" won the narrative award. The student award was presented to Sharat Raju's "American Made."
Announced during a ceremony late last week were the winners of the first Tribeca All Access, which served as a networking opportunity for filmmakers of color and members of the film industry. Stacy L. Holmon's doc "Dressed Like Kings" was named the winner in the non-fiction category, while in the narrative section, the prize was shared by Ellie Lee's new project, "The Road Home" and Phil Bertelsen's "Rock The Paint."
Also previously announced were the winners of the Sloan Foundation script development program for science or technology based work. The winners were David Baxter for "The Broken Code" and Gretchen Somerfeld for "Face Value."